Monday, February 21, 2011

UP they go! - the greenhouse posts

After several weeks of preparation, we finally began to put the pieces of the greenhouse together this week.

We began by attaching the Y-shaped truss supports (called carevacas here in Colombia) to the tops of the posts.  We used two 3/8" diameter bolts to secure the carevacas in place.  We soon found that drilling the 7/16" holes through the hard eucalyptus wood was a significant challenge for our drill bits, so we had to sharpen them frequently.  Fortunately, our Drill Doctor bit sharpener was up to the task of quickly and accurately resharpening bits, and kept us being productive in the drilling.  Otherwise, we'd probably still be burning our way through the 4" (10 cm) square posts!

Leonardo Guzman drilling a hole to mount the carevaca laying in the background.

Once all the carevacas were attached, we then stood the post assemblies up on the footings, and drilled two holes through the bottom of each post, aligned with the holes in the stirrups that are imbedded in the concrete footings.  We then installed 3/8" bolts through the holes to secure the posts to the footings.

A typical concrete footing with the imbedded stirrup made from 3/16"x 1-1/4" strap.

A huge help and blessing in all the drilling was that we were able to use electric power from one of our neighbors - which allowed us to use the 1/2" corded electric drill.  We do have several cordless drills, but the largest is only 3/8" capacity and wasn't up to the demands of this job. 

Camilo Castro, Alexander Guayara, and Anderson Mora tightening the bolts on a post while Gonzalo Osario observes.

The post installation team, left to right, Camilo Castro, William Gomez, Anderson Mora, Gonzalo Osario, and Alexander Guayara, with the posts in the background.

 It was gratifying to finally see something standing in the place where we soon expect to see a greenhouse.  And we were excited about getting on with the next step - which was mounting the trusses on the posts.

All the posts standing in place.

 But, since the stirrups are only designed to attach the posts to the footing - and not to support side loads - we first needed to install guy wires to help better stabilize the posts before mounting the trusses.  More guy wires will be added to the trusses after they are installed.

This job of installing the guy wires (1/8" cables) was pretty easy and quick.  We ran the cables through fencing staples hammered part way into the posts, tensioned the cable with a come-a-long, and then secured the cable to the anchors on each end, and finally drove the fencing staples completely into each post.

A line of posts, stabilized by a guy wire, ready for the trusses.

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